October> Healthy Recipes of the Month

Healthy Recipe of the Month

In Season: Sweet Potatoes

This versatile, nutritious tuber combines sweet, earthy undertones with a wealth of nutrients.

A little trivia: Sweet potatoes are related to the morning glory family, not the potato. People in the northern United States seem to prefer sweet potatoes with a more mealy consistency, while those in the South like their sweet potatoes with a more moist, sweet texture.

What they look like: There are two main varieties of sweet potato that are available commercially. The pale sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin and a pale yellow flesh. It's not as sweet as its darker counterpart, which has a thick, dark orange skin and a bright orange flesh.

Selection tips: Look for sweet potatoes that are small to medium in size with few bruises and smooth skin.

Storage tips: For optimal storage for up to three or four weeks, keep your sweet potatoes in a dark, dry, and cool (around 55 degrees) environment. They keep best when not stored in the refrigerator, so if you can't manage a naturally low temperature for them, try to use your stash within a week.

How to eat them: This versatile food may be used in a variety of ways and sweet potato recipes abound, including boiling, baking, and sauteing. Some health food stores and restaurants are now making chips out of them as well.

Preparation tips: Sweet potatoes may be substituted for regular potatoes in almost any recipe. To peel a boiled sweet potato, just drain off the hot water and immediately submerge them in cold water.

Peak growing season: You should be able to find fresh sweet potatoes at any time during the year, though they may be more readily available in the cooler months. You may find canned and frozen sweet potatoes erroneously labeled as yams.

Health benefits: Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamins A and C. They are more nutritious if cooked in their skins.

Nutritional info for one medium sweet potato (6 oz or 173g): 214 calories, 7 grams of fiber, 3.9 grams of protein, trace of fat (saturated), 21.4 milligrams of sodium, and 0 cholesterol.

Sweet Potato Recipes

Source: Cooking Light, October 2011

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